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Shankara Jayanti May 06, 2022

Vaishakha Shuddha Panchami occurring on May 06, 2022 celebrated as Shankara Jayanti, marks the birth of the outstanding saint-philosopher and proponent of Adwaita school of thought, Sri Shankaracharya. He has bestowed upon this world with some outstanding works in Sanskrit, besides numerous Stotras.

All the works of Sri Shankaracharya are exemplary, scholarly and subjects of debate across the globe. Pureprayer offers obeisance and felicitations to the great Seer during the occasion of Shankara Jayanti.

 

|| shankara rupena machittam panke kruthama bhutyaya |

| kinkariyasya samaya shankaracharya mashraye ||

 

Sri Shankaracharya is credited for consolidating the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. He unified and established the thoughts in Sanatan Hindu Dharma. He explained the basic ideology behind the Upanishads and advocated the concept in Vedas, describing the union of Atman with Paramatma (Supreme Consciousness). Sri Shankara travelled across the length and breadth of Bharatavarsha, propagating his philosophy that supported Sanatana Dharma.

Highlights of Sri Shankara’s Life & Works

  • Shankara left home at the tender age of eight, learnt all the Vedas, Itihasa and Puranas.
  • He took Sannyasa on reaching the age of nine years.
  • He mastered all Shaastras by the age of twelve years.
  • Shankara wrote Bhaashya on Prashnatrayi; 11 Upanishads; Brahmasutra and Bhagvadgita by the time he reached the age of 16 years.
  • He was just 17 years old when he defeated Mandana Mishra at Shaastraartha.
  • Sri Shankaracharya established four Mathas, Dashanami Sannyasa Parampara, Naga Sadhu, Dandiswami Sannyasa Parampara.
  • He is credited to have begun Panchayatana Puja or Panchadevopasana system.
  • He revived many important Hindu Teertha Yatra Kshetras (Pilgrimage sites).
  • He reestablished Sanatana Dharma.

Sri Shankara as a child

Sri Shankaracharya was prodigy by birth. He had displayed this superior genius and the extraordinary intelligence even when he was a kid. Shankara, being Eka Sandhigraahi (Capability of grasping uttered once), had by the age of three years finished reading many scriptures. By only listening to the readings and chants of the Vedas, Vedanta, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas had learnt them. Whatever he read or heard got indelibly impressed in his memory. He could relate them when necessary to find the answers for the questions that arise from within.

One day a few astrologers visited Shankara’s home. They expressed a desire to look into the horoscope of Shankara after seeing the bright and intelligent boy. On examining the horoscope, they said that there could be some major events that could happen, as the boy reached the age of eight, sixteen and thirty two years.

As proclaimed by the astrologers, Shankara took sannyasa when he was eight. He wrote commentaries on Brahma Sutra, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita which are popular as “Prasthana Traya” (Three sources of Theology) at the age of sixteen. Brahma Sutras give the Yukti Prasthana (Logical source) and are also called Sutra, Upanishads provide the Upadesha Prasthana (Injunctive source) also called Sruti and Bhagavad Gita is the Sadhana Prasthana (Instrumental source) also called Smriti. When he was thirty two he had done with the purpose of his visit on to this earth plane.

Sri Shankara’s wanderings

Young Shankara wandered at least 2000 kilometers before meeting Govinda Bhagavatpada. Under Govinda Bhagavatpada’s guidance, Shankara studied ‘Gaudapadiya Karika’, ‘Brahmasutra’, Vedas, and Upanishads. There are as many as fourteen biography works written about Sri Shankaracharya can hold a mirror to the success of Advaita Siddhanta proposed by him.

His major goal was to synthesize the immensely diverse spectrum of philosophical and theistic symbolism that existed in Aryavarta into one coherent system. Sri Shankara ascribed the founding of the Vedanta school to the sage Badarayana whose writings formed the basis for some of shankara’s most important treatises.

Every individual has a qualitative and essential relationship to an overarching universal Soul (Atman) which in its ultimate form is called Brahma:

“Brahma exists eternal, pure, enlightened, free, omniscient, and all powerful.”

Only Brahma is ultimately real and eternal, all worldly entities are regarded as illusory and transient. Since these transient forms are also manifestations of Brahma, “Maayaa” itself has a positive status.

Man apprehends only the illusory and deceptive appearances of the ultimate reality. This conditioned and finite knowledge is, in the ultimate sense, Avidya or ignorance.

Contributions of Sri Shankaracharya to Sanaatan Dharma

One of the most important works of Sri Shankaracharya is the synthesis of Shanmata (the six sub-sects) which means six religions that worshipped six different deities. Sri Shankara put across the thought that there is only one supreme-being, Brahma. All these six supreme deities form part of this Brahman.

He integrated Sanatan Dharma by bringing all the six sub sects together namely the Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shaktha, Ganapathya, Koumara and Soura (The worshipers of Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, Ganesha, Karthikeya and Surya respectively).

Sri Shankara on Janana & Bhakti

Sri Shankaracharya composed many poems praising gods and goddesses. Some of the most famous ones are those dedicated to Shiva-Parvati and Krishna. Sri Shankara is revered for his in-depth and insightful commentaries on ancient texts. Brahmasutrabhasya is a stellar work among many of his works.

He is probably the only Acharya who advocated Jnana and Bhakti on equal terms at that time. His works like Bhajagovindam, Krishnastakam, Govindastakam, Vishwanathastakam are filled with Bhakti along with Jnana.

Pancha Panchakam By Shankaracharya

Another most interesting works to mention here is the “Pancha Panchakam” the collection of five pendants presented to the learned audience for the first time in this format. This Pendant contains Manisha, Maaya, Sadhana, Kashi and Matru Panchakam. Manisha Panchakam is dealt with extensively with exhaustive notes highlighting the greatness of Advaita as a system which can be put to practice. Maaya Panchakam is Shakara’s musings at the powers of Maaya and the illusory web it can casts. Sadhana Panchakam prescribes steps to be undertaken by an aspirant to climb on to the ladder leading to Moksha. Kashi Panchakam is a unique text which explains the spiritual significance of the holy city of Varanasi (Kashi) and equates the various spots of pilgrimage in Kashi with the various aspects of Self, and implores every devotee to purge deeper within to realize Kashi within oneself.

The last, Matru Panchakam is an ode to motherhood said to have been composed when Shankara visited his mother breathing her last.

Sharada Sarvajjna Peetham

It is said that, Sharada Sarvajjna Peetham in Kashmir was one of the eighteen Shaktipeethas. There were four entrances to this place. The southern entrance to Sharada Peetham was never used to welcome any philosopher, as nobody had tried to come here from the far south. Sri Shankara decided on the long arduous journey to Sharada Sarvajjna Peetham to complete his Digvijaya (Victory over the scholars and experts).

He systematized the order of Sanyasi by reintroducing Dashanami Sampradaya via, Giri (Hill), Puri (Tract), Bharati (Land), Vana (Jungle), Aranya (Forest), Sagara (Sea), Asrama (Spiritual Exertion), Sarasvati (Wisdom of Nature), Tirtha (Place of Pilgrimage), and Parvata (Mountain).

He advocated the supremacy and authority of Vedas over all other scriptures. He eradicated almost all Durmathas (Bad Sects) like Kapalikas and Kalamukhas, who perform vigorous worship by sacrificing humans and animals.

Adi Shankaracharya and Quantum Physics

We are all one consciousness experiencing differently subjectively (because of different karma). There is no such thing as death, life is just a dream. We are eternal beings. The reality as you know does not exist.

What the entire Quantum physicists have understood is just a part of Advaita Philosophy of Adi Shankaracharya which is purely derieved from the Vedas. There exists none greater a scientist than Adi Shankaracharya.

A Comparison of Adi Shankara and Quantum Physics

 
Adi Shankaracharya Quantum Physics 
This world is Maaya (an illusion) The world we see and perceive are not real, they are just 3D projections of mind
||Brahma sathyam jagat Mithya || Only the Brahman is the absolute reality Only that consciousness is reality

 

Brahamhandam is created and dissolved again in to Parabrahman The atoms bind together to make planets, stars, comets and as time elapses, they dis-integrate and merge with consciousness
when the Jiva becomes realised then it is the state of nirvana, the jiva beyond – time , space and mind When someone deeply understands that consciousness then there is no time, no space and no mind
Jiva feels he is real because of the presence of mind Individuality is an illusion that is caused by mind
Brahman cannot be realised through senses, because they are limited Infinity cannot be understood with finite mediums

 

The unchanging reality is called God by common people, called consciousness by scientists, called energy by believers. We are all the same consciousness but appear differently because of our own actions.

Nothing can match Adi Shankara’s selfless service in the fields of Vedic Science and contributions to the world.

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